SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- With the placement of Javier Baez on the 15-day disabled list (probably retroactive to March 25), the 25-man roster for Opening Day is set as follows:
Jake Arrieta Jon Lester John Lackey Jason Hammel Kyle Hendricks Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Justin Grimm Travis Wood Adam Warren Clayton Richard Trevor Cahill Neil Ramirez
Miguel Montero David Ross
Anthony Rizzo Ben Zobrist Addison Russell Kris Bryant Tommy La Stella
Jason Heyward Dexter Fowler Jorge Soler Kyle Schwarber Matt Szczur
According to this Tribune article, it won't be too long before Baez is ready to return:
Before the injury, Baez made considerable progress as an outfielder despite not playing the position until December in the Puerto Rican League. Baez, 23, is considered the Cubs' best defensive infielder and can play all four infield positions. Baez will continue his rehabilitation in Arizona and is expected to rejoin the team for the home opener April 11 against the Reds.
The article also notes that the somewhat-short bench likely won't be a factor in the two-game season-opening series at Anaheim, as with the DH you don't need to pinch-hit as often. It could become a factor in the four-game set that follows at Arizona. For the moment, Zobrist is Russell's backup at shortstop, not an ideal situation.
When Baez is ready to return (April 11 according to the Tribune), who goes off the roster? The logical choice might be Szczur, because (presumably) Baez will be able to play the outfield positions that Szczur can. But then there's the issue of getting Szczur through waivers. It might be possible at that point, as most teams won't have an open roster spot them (I know some here have mentioned the Phillies as a possible landing spot for him).
So, the Cubs will have a roster decision to make just a week into the season. How do you think it will go?